Dry Ice, Sabrina Mahfouz
Reviewed by: Julia Rampen
Sabrina Mahfouz is just one woman in a single spotlight, but she speaks in many tongues. While her brand of theatrical performance poetry is dirty and lyrical in turn, she also has a chameleon-like ability to imitate. As a result, this is a feast for accent-lovers, whether you’re a fan of northern grit, southern upper-class drawl, or mockney.
Mahfouz tells the story of Nina, a stripper. It’s an amusing and often surreal journey through the adult entertainment world. The audience is offered a peep at a strippers’ changing room, a bizarre fetish, and the various categories of punters. As well as the self-proclaimed lads, there are those that ask her what her mother would say. Nina’s quick reply – ‘What would your mother say?’ – quickly exposes the hypocrisy of such moralising.
It’s also, though, a portrait of an individual who is never quite at ease. In one of the highlights of the piece, Mahfouz takes us to a dinner party that meets Bridget Jones levels of social awkwardness. ‘Do you ski, Nina?’ a plummy voice asks. Nina responds dryly: ‘No, I don’t like doing anything that involves too many clothes.’ By the end, even Nina’s self-assurance seems something of a façade.
This show is driven by poetry, but it’s also an elegant and gripping piece of theatre. See it.